What happens in the courthouse...

Unless explicitly noted otherwise, this blog represents my own opinions, not those of any organization (like the Kittitas County Democratic Party) that I might be involved with.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How did the county mess up marijuana so badly?

To paraphrase Boss Godfrey in Cool Hand Luke, the problem is a failure to communicate. The county's failure to communicate is what caused the storm of criticism from a small group of people who felt blindsided by the new regulations on marijuana businesses.

The communication problem isn't limited to the marijuana issue, of course. It is unusually -- and, in this day and age, inexplicably -- difficult to get information about the workings of county government.

It is hard to imagine why the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) hasn't caught up with the Cle Elum City Council, the Cle Elum-Roslyn School Board, the Ellensburg City Council and the Ellensburg School Board when it comes to keeping citizens in the loop. Meetings of all of those organizations have been recorded and broadcast via cable for years.

Making the whole situation even harder to understand is the fact that Commissioner Obie O'Brien previously served on the Ellensburg City Council, and during that time his day job involved technical support for distance learning at CWU. A 2007 Daily Record story about community access TV and televised meetings noted that then-Mayor O'Brien "became involved with community access TV long before he became mayor." If anyone knows the how and why of making video of meetings available, it should be Mr. O'Brien.

So, after 4 years of Commissioner O'Brien, why isn't video of all BOCC meetings televised or available on the Internet? Possibly, in the words of Mayor O'Brien, because "[W]hen there is that close a scrutiny, things can change."

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